Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 45, September 2001

An Extract from the OHINEMURI GAZETTE, Friday 14 May, 1915

Frank Morton of Paeroa - "Slowest Town Dreamt of"

"In the course of an article in the Triad describing his travels through various parts of New Zealand, Frank Morton, the well-known author, has the following:

The train dawdled into Paeroa, and at Paeroa it stood around for a long time. We had opportunity of seeing all we wanted to see and then wondering when the train would start. Paeroa is dead, so dead as to be beyond all mortal hope of resurrection. It simmers in its own gravy and the gravy has gone sour. If you are a prohibitionist go to Paeroa, and repent.

I don't drink nowadays but I think that the bar of a Paeroa boarding house that was once a hotel is the saddest spectacle the earth affords. There stand weary men drinking tepid pop and feeling horribly bored and dismal about it - as well as they may.

Paeroa is not only dead, but flyblown. The very birds fly over it in solemn panic, their eyes strained to discover some cheerful place to rest on. The place reminds me of a gimcrack town built shabbily of inferior brown paper that has been wet through and gone mouldy. Flyblown I called it just now. I beg pardon of those abhorred insects. Flyblown it was, but now there is nothing left for the flys (sic) to blow on.

There are no flys (sic) permanently living in Paeroa; they can no longer eke out a wretched existence there. The undertaker finds it hard work in Paeroa because it is so mightily hard to pick out the real dead from the huddle of lifeless shapes.

If you want to commit suicide respectably and without scandal, you need only to go and "live" in Paeroa.

I know now why the eminently promising Mr Poland is such a disappointment to his friends, seems so apathetic and indolent for a man of his parts - he lives in Paeroa and Paeroa is the chief town - alack - of his forlorn electorate.

They ought to put up a jail in Paeroa for men serving life sentences. They would die soon there, and so cease to be a burden to themselves and to the State.

Paeroa is the slowest town I ever saw or dreamt of."


The following week the vote to establish a Borough of Paeroa was taken and carried and so one presumes that Mr Morion's train had gone and the lifeless shapes had had their say!